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Muppet Babies

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Muppet Babies logo
First aired September 15, 1984
Last aired December 29, 1990
Network CBS
Seasons 7
No. of episodes 107
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From Left to Right: Baby Animal, Baby Skeeter, Baby Scooter, Baby Fozzie, Baby Piggy, Baby Kermit, Baby Gonzo and Baby Rowlf

Muppet Babies is an animated series which ran on CBS for seven years, winning the Outstanding Animated Series Emmy for four consecutive years. The concept of presenting familiar Muppet characters as babies was introduced in a sequence of The Muppets Take Manhattan. The film featured puppet versions of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Scooter, and Rowlf as babies (the puppet versions later returned one more time, for a home movie sequence in A Muppet Family Christmas).

The animated series added baby versions of Animal, Bunsen Honeydew, and Beaker, plus new characters such as Scooter's sister Skeeter and Nanny (seen from shoulders down only, per the children's point of view). Later cast additions included an infant version of Bean Bunny and avuncular versions of Statler and Waldorf (plus guest appearances by Robin as a Tadpole and Janice as a toddler).

The show's humor relied heavily on incorporating footage from live action film and television productions, most often Star Wars, but clips from Henson's own The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Labyrinth also surfaced. Live-action cameo appearances included Whoopi Goldberg and Tom Selleck, amongst others.

Hank Saroyan, the series' voice director and story editor, talked about Jim Henson's vision of this animated series:

He wanted children to believe that anything is possible. That's the only thing that's going to save this planet - the power of imagination.[1]

The series prompted a short-lived spinoff, Little Muppet Monsters.

Opening and Closing

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The theme song, written by Hank Saroyan and Rob Walsh, featured the Muppet Babies singing about the power of imagination. Originally, the opening featured a middle verse where the babies introduced themselves individually, based on a defining character trait. This part of the opening is cut from most episodes in syndication to make room for more commercials, and the opening reedited to include other clips. The shortened version is 30 seconds instead of 1 minute, and first appeared in season 2's Muppets, Babies and Monsters.

A second opening sequence appears in season 3, becoming standard by season 6. Here, the Babies ride on a flying book, Kermit's tricycle transforms into a speedboat and rocketship, and the Babies play fantasy characters during the middle verse. Nanny's one line had also been rerecorded at this point.

Another version of the opening seen by the sixth season involves a large toy train which the Babies ride, and the Babies building their Muppet Babies logo out of cardboard boxes. It uses clips from season 1 and 2 episodes (Fun Park Fantasies. Piggy's Hyper-Activity Book and From a Galaxy Far Far Away.) It's unclear if there was a longer version of this intro.

A shortened opening seen starting in season 6 combined footage from all three openings, and certain episodes.

During the first season, the closing theme was an instrumental version of the theme song, with the doo-wop backing vocals only. Starting in the second season, the music was changed to begin with an instrumental version of the Little Muppet Monsters theme song, ending with the doo-wop Babies theme. This longer theme was intended for the hourlong series Muppets, Babies and Monsters, and originally included Little Muppet Monsters stills in the end credits as well. (The opening titles to Muppets, Babies and Monsters had a new theme combining the theme songs to both shows.)

This change to the music stuck, and in future seasons the music still contains the Little Muppet Monsters section. This version of the closing replaced the original closing when aired on Nickelodeon. The closing also showed various stills of the Babies (and the second season closing also included some background artwork from the series). By the time of the third season, several new stills had been added.

Reruns

After the series ended its run on CBS, reruns aired on FOX from 1991 until 1992, and the first 96 episodes aired on Nickelodeon from 1992 until 1999, and as a syndication package. These same episodes were also rerun on the Odyssey Network in 1999. Although 11 episodes from the last season were not shown in syndication, a number of them were released on video. The show was seen in the United Kingdom on Playhouse Disney from 2005-2007. The shows and the franchise are now owned and controlled by Disney.

Cast

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Additional Voices

Credits

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See also

Sources

  1. The Prescott Courier: "Muppet Babies venture into fascinating world of opera"

External links

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